Another Nail in the Fare Hike Coffin

Posted on March 23rd, 2009 by The SUBWAYblogger in This just in, Transit Failures

Aaaand we inch ever closer to the $2.50 single ride and the $103 monthly unlimited. The final vote is Wednesday.

I don’t claim to be that good at math, but eventually the unlimited card is just not worth it.  I mean, the average commuter is going to take the train twice a day, 5 days a week, 4 weeks a month.  That’s 40 total rides.  At $2.50 a ride, that’s $100.

Eventually, I think I’m just going to buy a $100 regular card and get my extra 6 free rides ($15).  There’s rarely a month that goes by where I take 6 rides on the weekend.  When I head out on the weekend, I’m usually cabbing it up.

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  1. Benjamin Kabak said on March 23rd, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    That’s spurious math though. The break-even point on the 30-day unlimited ride cards is remaining at around 46 rides. In fact, right now, with the current fare structure, if you don’t swipe in more than 46 times a month, you’re wasting your money. If they keep the fare bonus at 15 percent, the break-even point will inch up to 47 rides a month.

  2. Rutila said on March 24th, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Are you basing the math for “the average commuter” on yourself, because I for one almost never “cab it up” on the weekends but regularly use the subway to shop. Also, have you ever needed to use the subway to run an errand before or after work or during your lunch hour? Thank you for pointing out that the deal one gets from unlimited MetroCards is waning, but I am unsure how many straphangers will find a better value with the pay-per-ride 15% bonus.

  3. James D said on March 24th, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Firstly, a 30-day unlimited doesn’t cover 20 working days. If you use it like you say, it’s 22 about two-thirds of the time, and 21 the rest. So call it 21.6667 days, or 43.3333 trips.

    Secondly, as your unlimited allows you to travel on weekends, it’s only fair that you help pay for the marginal costs of running that service (as you yourself note: if you don’t use the weekend service, use PPR). It’s a traditional rule-of-thumb that Saturday and Sunday ridership adds up to one Weekday (this is actually an underestimate in the case of NYC), so that 43.3333 should be multiplied by 6/5, giving 52.

    So as a very minimum, the 30-day unlimited should be 52 (not 46 as at present, or 47 as proposed) times the 15%-discounted base fare — and this is without taking into account the extent to which people run errands off-peak or go out for the evening. Otherwise the MTA is leaving money that they haven’t got on the table.

  4. Emprice-Sario said on March 25th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I can’t believe that this is happening. It’s bad enough that the service is shotty, but now we have to pay more at the machine? It’s stupid and ridiculous. I mine as well drive (at least I’ll get somewhere quicker). Being a nearly broke 19 y.o. in nyc is getting harder and harder each day, and now these million dollar idiots want to raise the fares? Geez. I’m so fed up. The subway was one of the things I loved about being from NYC, and now, it’s become a fricken political cash cow.

  5. tacony palmyra said on March 26th, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I use the train often enough that the unlimited card definitely makes sense for me. I often use the train 7 or 8 times on a Saturday– run some errands, stop by a friend’s apt, go to dinner, pick up beer, go to a party, come home. I never use cabs.

    I’d pay $200 if the trains came every 10 minutes at night. I think some other people would too. Isn’t this basically the reason people take cabs? Because service at night is poor? Think of all the cab fare we’d save!

  6. Anthony said on March 28th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    In the best case scenario, the first day of the month is a monday, which means you will ride 44 times if you only ride on work days.

    44×2=$86. so you save $5 by buying an unlimited card, or $11.21 by buying a pay per ride card. With the new fares, you save $7 with unlimited or $14.34 with a pay per ride

    If you only ride 5 days a week 2 times a day, you’re ripping yourself off already with the old system!

  7. James D said on March 28th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Anthony, if you extend that a bit, your next card starts on a Wednesday, and again covers 22 weekdays. Then the one after that starts on a Friday and covers 21. Then presuming that you can let one Sunday drop, you’re back to Monday. That’s where I got 21 and two thirds from.

  8. Todd said on March 31st, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Remember during the last hike when we talked about stocking up on Metrocards? I’m definitely doing that this time around.

  9. Michael Perkins said on April 4th, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Know how much a “monthly unlimited” costs in DC? $200. Y’all are lucky.

  10. Cash Genie said on April 12th, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    That sucks. Monthly unlimited is a joke then. Its simple math.

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